It's another shortened week for releases, but sweet to be sure thanks to at least one world blazing release in the debut from James Blake. There's also some sweet sounds in the latest from Cut Copy, Akron/Family, Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker's David Lowery, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Nicole Atkins, Motorhead, Ebsen and the Witch, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Over the Rhine, Teddy Thompson and advanced single from the upcoming Okkervil River release.
Playlist: New Releases 02.08.11
James Blake - James Blake
Stream / Purchase [mp3]
Moving deftly from the abstract dubstep work on three EPs in 2010 (CMYK, Klavierwerke & The Bells Sketch) the 22-year old James Blake's self-titled debut is so phenomenal in part due to it's warm soulfulness that's paradoxically bathed in the often cold unfeeling world of electronic-based music. To the uninitiated, it's just an amazing album feels like it's landed from another planet. For the rest who have been following Blake's rise, it's merely an enormous leap from amusing abstract art to fully realized artistic endeavor. When Blake's reworking of Feist's "Limit to Your Love" was released late last year, it was the first clue of what was to come, but as great as that subversion was, James Blake exceeds that promise with more to boot. Combining the vocal sensibilities of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Antony and the Johnson's Antony Hegarty, the album is both full of soul and experimentation. "Unluck" opens with an auto-tuned Antony Hegarty-like vocal workout, and the listener can never look back. Blake has confessed his vocal influences on this album are Joni Mitchell and Bon Iver, so it should come as no surprise then that the incredible Lindisfarne I & II sounds like an earth shattering outtake from Blood Bank. It's rare that an album can exceed the hype behind it, but Blake's debut does just that, only stuttering barely in the rare occation when the ambition of the song overshadows the songwriting ("To Care (Like You)"). It's an amazing debut that suggests an almost unfathomable career ahead.
Free Album Stream from 3VOOR12
Cut Copy - Zonoscope
Stream / Purchase [mp3]
Australia's Cut Copy's builds upon the breakout promise of their sophomore release (In Ghost Colours) with their third release, Zonoscope, similarly holding back on the hooks, but releasing them with full assault when adequately situated. The one exception this time out is "Where I'm Going," which starts out with Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting for the Man" before bursting into the rainbow harmonies of the Beach Boys for the rest of the song's entirety. It's a wholly infectious moment of the album that would make even Panda Bear blush. The rest of the album may not contain the highs of that track, but there's plenty that even the most jaded hipsters will find themselves tapping their fee and humming to, which is what we've come to expect from the electro-pop outfit.
Free AOL Album Stream
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
David Lowery - The Palace Guards / Free AOL Album Stream / "The Palace Guards" [mp3]
Akron/Family - Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT / "Silly Bears" [mp3]
...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead / Free AOL Album Stream
Okkervil River - Mermaid (Single)
Nicole Atkins - Mondo Amore / Free AOL Album Stream
Motorhead - The World is Yours / Free AOL Album Stream
Ebsen and the Witch - Keys to the Kingdom / "Warpath" [mp3]
Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me
Over the Rhine - The Long Surrender / Free AOL Album Stream
Teddy Thompson - Bella
Covenant - Modern Ruin (Deluxe) / Free AOL Album Stream
Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak (Deluxe Edition)
tags: music, album review, james blake, cut copy, indie rock, new releases